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CAMEL

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Camel biography
The roots of CAMEL go as far as 1964, when the Latimer brothers Andrew and Bryan form part of a band called THE PHANTOM FOUR, after gaining some fame, the band changes their name to STRANGE BREW, a when the bass player Graham Cooper reaches the band. But things were about to change, Ian Latimer and Cooper leave the band and Doug Ferguson joins.

At this point drummer Andrew Ward joins the crew and the seeds were growing in this new Blues oriented band called simply THE BREW, and at last in 1971 with the arrival of keyboardist Peter Bardens CAMEL is officially born.

In their first period CAMEL releases four albums, the self titled debut, which was received with limited enthusiasm by the public, which lead to the change of label from MCA (Who didn't wanted to take risks) to Decca, with whom they stayed for 10 years.

Followed by "Mirage", Snow Goose" and "Moonmadness" (for many their essential trilogy), during the latest album tour, the saxophonist and flute player Mel Collins joins and leads CAMEL to a first radical change in the sound, as well as in the formation because Doug Ferguson is replaced by the Ex CARAVAN bass player Richard Sinclair.

With this formation CAMEL releases two albums, "Rain Dances and "Breathless", which marks for many the end of CAMEL'S golden era mainly because Pete Bardens leaves the band and the next release "I Can See Your House From Here" is considered inferior to the previous releases by the critic.

From this point the lineups constantly changes but the band still releases seven more albums received with different degrees of acceptance, until the last studio album "A Nod And a Wink" sees the light in 2002 (the same year Pete Bardens passes away) completing a large discography of 14 studio releases, 9 live albums, 7 DVD's and several box sets .

Maybe because their style is softer than most of the pioneer bands with atmospheric and light Space Rock overtones their fanbase is not as huge as the ones of the coetaneous and more aggressive bands such as GENESIS (Who in my opinion influenced CAMEL), YES or KING CRIMSON, but CAMEL is without doubt among the most respected groups, and the Latimer - Bardens duo is considered one of the most creative compositional teams.

If I had to choose one album from their prolific discography, my choice would be "Moonmadness" but others such as "Snow Goose" or "Mirage" are beloved by those who love good music.

An excellent band for people who l...
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Buy CAMEL Music


The Snow GooseThe Snow Goose
Import · Remastered
Polygram UK 2002
Audio CD$5.45
$4.47 (used)
MoonmadnessMoonmadness
Import · Remastered
Polygram UK 2002
Audio CD$5.44
$7.99 (used)
The Snow GooseThe Snow Goose
Import
Camel Productions 2013
Audio CD$20.64
$41.49 (used)
Camel- MirageCamel- Mirage
Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 2002
Audio CD$5.44
$4.99 (used)
Rain DancesRain Dances
Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2009
Audio CD$5.44
$10.00 (used)
CamelCamel
Import · Remastered
MSI:UNIVERSAL/UM3 2002
Audio CD$5.44
$4.49 (used)
Compact CompilationCompact Compilation
Rhino / Wea 1990
Audio CD$10.98
$2.70 (used)
I Can See Your House From HereI Can See Your House From Here
Import
Universal I.S. 1990
Audio CD$5.45
$4.50 (used)
Camel: Coming of AgeCamel: Coming of Age
Multiple Formats · Import
Camel Productions 2002
DVD$21.48
$28.01 (used)
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CAMEL shows & tickets


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CAMEL discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

CAMEL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.94 | 885 ratings
Camel
1973
4.37 | 1749 ratings
Mirage
1974
4.27 | 1526 ratings
The Snow Goose
1975
4.38 | 1500 ratings
Moonmadness
1976
3.56 | 637 ratings
Rain Dances
1977
3.13 | 540 ratings
Breathless
1978
2.82 | 470 ratings
I Can See Your House From Here
1979
3.62 | 516 ratings
Nude
1981
2.54 | 329 ratings
The Single Factor
1982
3.35 | 484 ratings
Stationary Traveller
1984
3.65 | 347 ratings
Dust And Dreams
1991
3.71 | 417 ratings
Harbour Of Tears
1996
4.06 | 580 ratings
Rajaz
1999
3.95 | 497 ratings
A Nod And A Wink
2002
4.30 | 284 ratings
The Snow Goose (Re-recording)
2013

CAMEL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.25 | 294 ratings
A Live Record
1978
3.30 | 112 ratings
Pressure Points
1984
3.58 | 84 ratings
Camel On The Road 1972
1992
4.41 | 120 ratings
Never Let Go
1993
2.31 | 49 ratings
Camel On The Road 1982
1994
3.23 | 44 ratings
Camel On The Road 1981
1997
4.26 | 97 ratings
Coming Of Age
1998
3.79 | 54 ratings
Camel 73 - 75 Gods of Light
2000
3.53 | 59 ratings
The Paris Collection
2001

CAMEL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

2.59 | 32 ratings
Pressure Points - Live in Concert
1984
4.50 | 88 ratings
Coming Of Age (DVD)
1998
2.90 | 21 ratings
Curriculum Vitae
2003
3.78 | 39 ratings
Footage
2004
3.71 | 28 ratings
Footage II
2005
3.90 | 37 ratings
Total Pressure (DVD)
2007
3.91 | 45 ratings
Moondances
2007
4.25 | 67 ratings
The Opening Farewell - Live At The Catalyst (DVD)
2010
3.96 | 15 ratings
In From The Cold
2014

CAMEL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.47 | 8 ratings
Chameleon (Best Of Camel)
1981
3.23 | 15 ratings
The Collection
1985
3.71 | 27 ratings
A Compact Compilation
1985
2.40 | 7 ratings
Landscapes
1991
3.43 | 42 ratings
Echoes
1993
2.09 | 8 ratings
Camel (25th Anniversary Compilation)
1997
4.00 | 32 ratings
Lunar Sea - An Anthology 1973-1985
2001
3.88 | 34 ratings
Rainbow's End - A Camel Anthology 1973 - 1985
2010

CAMEL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.43 | 23 ratings
Never Let Go
1972
4.43 | 21 ratings
Another Night
1976
3.40 | 11 ratings
Highways of the Sun
1977
4.76 | 18 ratings
Never Let Go
2002

CAMEL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Harbour Of Tears by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.71 | 417 ratings

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Harbour Of Tears
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

3 stars In 1991, after a seven year hiatus, Camel regrouped and returned with a fine comeback album, "Dust And Dreams", based on the joyful and happy escapades of tenant farmers of the Oklahoma dust bowl during the Great Depression, as depicted in John Steinbeck's "The Grapes Of Wrath". In 1995, Andrew Latimer followed that up with the equally uplifting "Harbour Of Tears", loosely based, I think on the Tom Cruise movie, "Coming To America", where Cruise and Eddie Murphy escape from 1890s Ireland, to become fighters and employees in a fast food restaurant, while Nicole Kidman and Arsenio Hall watch..

I am no big fan of Irish music, despite a fair amount of Celtic heritage. However, Latimer and his crew do a nice job of blending traditional Irish folk motifs into the well known Camel light symphonic style. While none of the music will blow you away, it is still far and away (see what I did there?) better that the majority of the pop drivel this band had been releasing before their break.

The absolute best moment is Coming Of Age, that let's you know in no uncertain terms that Camel is still a prog rock force. The low point is the long, unnecessary surf noises tacked on to the last track the same statement could have been made with only about a minute of the sound effects.

In all, this is a good album, about 3.5 stars.

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 Dust And Dreams by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.65 | 347 ratings

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Dust And Dreams
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

4 stars After disappearing for the second half of the dismal 1980s, Camel reappeared with this album, inspired by that book most of us in the United States had to read in school, John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath". And while I don't think the music captues the the imagery of the book, as a prog album, this is one of Camel's finest.

The first half comes closest to what Andrew Latimer and the band seemed to be attempting to accomplish. It it a series of brooding rock pieces (mostly sounding like that bastion of Americana, Dire Straits), symphonic themed interludes, and just a but of that old Camel light prog fusion. It all is well written and performed, but had the album continued in the same way, it would not be as great as it actually turned out.

Beginning with Storm Clouds, we are suddenly treated to a suite of short pieces, climaxing in the wonderful Hopeless Anger, that rank with some of the best of Camel's music to date. The orchestral synth arrangements are lush and sweeping, the fusion based tracks are complex and sometimes energetic, the indiviual tracks blend seamlessly. I find I cannot stop repeated listenings of this haf of the album.

Welcome back, Camel.

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 In From The Cold by CAMEL album cover DVD/Video, 2014
3.96 | 15 ratings

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In From The Cold
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Song within a song

I ordered this brand new Camel live concert DVD directly from the band (camelproductions.com) and was amazed when my copy arrived that it had been signed by Andy Latimer at no extra cost! And not enough with that, they had thrown in a free sticker as well. (Last time I ordered from Camel Productions, they gave me a free sticker and a post card!) It is not the cheapest nor the fastest service on the planet, but they sure care about their fans.

Seeing this concert film (recorded in London in October 2013), one is strongly reminded of how incredible it is that Andy has recovered from the illness that almost took his life. I think that few people expected to ever see him on a stage again. But here he is and he's looking well again, and playing well. The other mainstay is Colin Bass who has been playing with the band since 1979. Guy LeBlanc (keyboards) and Denis Clement (drums) have been with them since 2000. For this tour they were joined also by a second keyboard player in Jason Hart.

The set list consists of the Snow Goose album performed in its entirety, plus a second set of other songs. Camel are certainly no strangers to performing full albums live as they have done so on numerous occasions (Snow Goose in the 1970's, Dust And Dreams and Harbour Of Tears in the 90's). I must admit that the Snow Goose album is actually my least favourite Camel album from their classic era. The version performed here includes the "revisions" that were featured on the re-recorded studio version released last year (to warm people up for this tour). (Personally, I prefer the re-recorded 2013 version over the original 1975 album.) The performance here is very good.

Since the first set is obviously entirely instrumental, the second set focuses on vocal numbers. The second set features a further nine songs, one each taken from the self-titled debut, Mirage, Moonmadness, Rain Dances, and Breathless, and two each from Harbour Of Tears and A Nod And A Wink. All of these songs are excellent, but most of them have been played live before and already featured on other recent live albums and videos. For Today was included on the band's previous live DVD The Opening Farewell released in 2010; The Hour Candle and Watching The Bobbins were included on the 1998 live concert DVD and album Coming Of Age; the classic Never Let Go was included on the 1993 live album of the same name (in the arrangement appearing here); Echoes and Lady Fantasy were included both on the latter live album and on The Opening Farewell. Don't get me wrong, I love all of these songs, but it would have been more interesting to hear more songs that they don't play often or at least songs that wasn't included on their most recent live releases. The rarest--and therefore most interesting--songs they play here are Song Within A Song, Tell Me, and Fox Hill. The latter two are sung very well by Colin Bass.

But even though I would like to have seen some more rarities, old and new, in the set list, the performance featured on In From The Cold is a thoroughly enjoyable experience all the way and does not disappoint. Personally I think that Coming Of Age is Camel's best live DVD, but this one is an excellent addition to any Camel fan's collection (together with The Opening Farewell). Now I'm only waiting for an archival live release from the Rajaz tour!

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 Stationary Traveller by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.35 | 484 ratings

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Stationary Traveller
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

2 stars Stationery Traveller: an album that manages to capture the awe inspiring experience of walking through aisles of reams of blank paper, envelopes, pencils and paper clips.

The album begins with Pressure Points, a slightly Pink Floyd-ish but all to short instrumental piece. With a nice Andrew Latimer guitar solo, this track is the only one on the album that I can bear listening to repeatedly.

The rest is a pile of eighties synth-pop, that most closely reminds me of Roger Hodgson's post Supertamp work. You know. Fairly well crafted, but immediately forgettable pop songs.

If there was more than a faint hint of prog here (and no, slightly weird eighties synth sounds don't qualify), I might have rated this better. But no. This is what was wrong with 80's music.

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 Nude by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.62 | 516 ratings

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Nude
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

3 stars After two albums that indicated a clear leaning toward more commercial (less interesting) musical direction, the start of this album might make you believe that this album continues that trend. And sure, City Life and the brief Nude are bland and poppy, but when the smoky sound of Drafted begins, it marks a change in attitude.

Aside from those first two tracks, the rest of the album is good. There is quite a bit of that light symphonic (and sure, maybe new-agey) symphonic fusion that was a staple in the heyday of the band, and also forays into other territories. Beached is a pure fusion track, more aggressive than we are accustomed to hearing from Camel, in some ways similar to Brand X. And while were talking aggression, Captured brings a heavy ELP-like riff with un-Camel-ish energy.

I'd give this album 3.5 stars, that I feel must be rounded down. Let's hope they don't follow it up with an album of truly bland pop singles under a very unimaginative title... Ooops!!!

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 The Single Factor by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1982
2.54 | 329 ratings

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The Single Factor
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

1 stars If you want to know what was wrong with music in the nineteen eighties, just give this a listen. On the plus side, in comparison it makes other prog rock artists' albums that venture toward pop sound very daring. Emerson Lake and Palmer's "Love Beach", Yes' "Open Your Eyes" and "Big Genitalia" and all of those eighties Genesis albums sound daring next to this one. To make matters worse, it's not even a good pop album.

Pter Bardens makes a brief reappearance, and some impressive guest stars, including Dave Mattacks, Duncan Mackay, Simon Phillips, Francis Monkman, Tristan Fry, and Anthony Phillips. I presume most of them regret this.

Did I say I don't like this album at all? I forget.

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 I Can See Your House From Here by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.82 | 470 ratings

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I Can See Your House From Here
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

2 stars Wellllllllll.....

After the pop-leaning and completely unforgettable "Breathless", it comes as no surprise that Peter Bardens and Richard Sinclair have left the band. Here, bardens is replaced by two keyboardists, Jan Schelhaas and and unusually understated Kit Watkins. Some guy named Phil Collins also makes an appearance on percussion, but you would never know it.

In general, this album is similar to "Breathless", but with a few more nods to the fans of Camel's earlier prog albums. It makes me wonder just who they were aiming at with the pop tracks, which are not clever or memorable enough to gain a substantial fanbase.

The album begins with a slightly proggy opo tune, Wait. The vocals have an ELO resemblance, and the shifting time signature gives the record a promising start. Unfortunately, It is followed by Your Love Is Stranger Than Mine which, despite a clever title, is just too cute and poppy.

Pastoral is a light symph track. Along with the very short Survival and Hymn To Her these are the throwbacks to Camels golden years. The closing track, Ice comes close as well, and contains some of Andrew Latimer's finest guitar work, but the song's structure is just too simple to rank it up there with the better pieces.

The rest of the album can be discarded, with various styles of pop, the worst being the synth-pop disater, Remote Romance, with insipid lyrics, and a sound like someone trying out a bunck of new electronic toys.

I'd give this two and a half stars, but I must round it down.

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 Breathless by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.13 | 540 ratings

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Breathless
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

2 stars 1978. When record executives filled with white powder mistook their ability to hobnob with celebrities, while raking in millions from fans of cheaply produced punk and disco, as a sign of genius. So the edict was passed down: complex, challenging music must be ridiculed, and eradicated from the major labels.

Don't get me wrong, Camel on this album did keep a small amount of their prog roots, more than I have sometimes accepted by other artists as a member of the Crossover team. But up against any of their previous albums, this one is a disappointment.

The greater involvement of Richard Sinclair adds more of a Canterbury feel, and Mel Collins, of course, brings some elegance to the wind and reed parts, but with one exception, the songs are a too laden with simplistic, forgettable composition, and unremarkable lyrics.

The nadir is Summer Lightening, which might have been tolerable had they not had Andy Ward back the song with an insipid drumbeat, popularly known in those days as "the disco suck".

The one bright spot is The Sleeper, the only throwback to the band's glory days. A great track, a good reason for the prog fan to pick up a copy of the album, but only at a very good price.

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 Moonmadness by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.38 | 1500 ratings

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Moonmadness
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

4 stars Camel followed up "The Snow Goose", a wordless album that finally elevated them into prog greatness, with this, the album that cemented their place in the 70's prog annals.

On the positive side, Camel at this time had completely eschewed the psychedelic jamming that made the first two albums sound like they were recorded almost ten years before their release, and replaced that with more discernible prog compositions, the type that defined the classic mid-70s prog heyday. Musically, they blend a Canterbury-like jazz rock style with more symphonic passages, evoking at times lighter King Crimson, Genesis, and a bit of Pink Floyd.

What holds them back is a tendency to keep songs too light, and often reverting to this lightness after first revealing strong musical themes. Admittedly, however, this quality is what makes me enjoy this album as background music when having guests at an evening patio party.

Standout tracks are Chord Change, which has some dual guitar tracks that remind me of some of the classic Allman Brothers hits, before it changes lanes into some fine solo backgrounds, and Lunar Sea, which just might be the best song Camel ever recorded.

Another solid four star album.

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 Mirage by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.37 | 1749 ratings

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Mirage
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Isa
Prog Reviewer

3 stars [C+] Fun and light symphonic prog, though not particularly enduring.

I must confess that my first impression of Camel's Mirage was not one of utterly timeless symphonic prog majesty, but rather of dated 70s sounding rock 'n roll with half-baked influences from the popular jazz-rock and prog bands of the time. While I haven't completely departed from this viewpoint, a fair amount of plays through the album have allowed me to really appreciate the many great moments of light-hearted beauty and the nicely balanced mixture of symphonic prog and jazz-rock influences. There is a high level of creativity with song-structure and instrumental layering in all of the tracks, with mostly successful results.

The first track Freefall presents probably the heaviest side of the band's sound on the album, with jarring guitar riffs and an aggressive vocal part. This aggression is followed by some clever solo sections, leading into a a cheerful, proggy section with some 11/8 metered guitar and keyboard riffing, one of my favorite moments on the album. This leads back into the hard rock sounding chorus. The drumming on this track is particularly cool. Supertwister is an interesting track with several diverse sounding sections, some whimsical and soft, some energetic. The flute melodies and juicy keyboard parts are the best part about the track, I think. Nimrod / The Procession / The White Rider might be considered an "epic," Nimrod being a short somewhat and somewhat strange, darker section. After this, The Procession is a sort of short Renaissance sounding march, leading straight into The White Rider. I sense that the first part of this section is highly influenced by Moody Blues, with the use of an oboe-sounding synth melody and once again whimsical atmosphere. The vocal melody is a bit lackluster sounding to me, however. This leads leading directly into a fast paced solo section, which is pretty fun and well done. I sense some Uriah Heep influence in several parts of the track, including the fantasy themed lyrics. Earthrise is an interesting, very prog-sounding track, with beautiful parts from all of the instruments, though I find it a bit long-winded sounding with the faster and thicker section toward the end of the track. The track ends very well with the slower marching tempo.

Lady Fantasy is in most ways the best part of the album, and is the most diverse, cohesive, and expressive of all of the tracks on the album, with the most developed lyrics. The solo is very well done, and the singing a bit less so. I hear more Santana influence in this track than in any other, for sure, much more jazz-rock oriented throughout the song. Many solo sections throughout this multi-movement track. My favorite part of this track, and thus the whole album, is the reverse-fade guitar solo, just gorgeous. This leads directly into the soft, emotional lyrical section, and I love how the music reflects the mood of the lyrics, portraying the concept of being mesmerized by a beautiful, really majestic woman from a afar. Then "bam!" the hard-rock riffing and soloing begins, and it's just great. The crunchy keyboard timbre is just so juicy.

In terms of the album as a whole, I have some complaints which are stumbling blocks for me giving this album a higher rating: there isn't much of a sense of lyrical drama or even instrumental expressiveness throughout the rest of the album, compared to Lady Fantasy. While the complex proggy sections are fun indeed, they almost all have a very narrow range of emotional expression, unlike what you might find in the music of Yes or Genesis, and thus always leave me wishing for more. Also, while each section of music in each song is very well done, it just doesn't create a memorable cohesive whole for most of the tracks, let alone the album as a whole. These are things that I find particularly crucial for a great work of artistic music, and in my view they are where Camel falls short with respect to this album.

Mirage is a very good album which has clearly had much influence on the sound of the symphonic prog style. Any fan of this style should own this album for sure, though I wouldn't really call it crucial for progressive rock collection.

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